Cobra Skulls - Draw Muhammad (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Cobra Skulls

Draw Muhammad (2006)

Red Scare

When a band's earlier output gets re-released -- or re-pushed -- after tasting the sweet taste of success (even if that success does not extend far beyond local punk scenes and this website's readership), these earlier tracks are almost always disappointing on your first listen. The songs are noticeably less polished, both in terms of the production value and the performance itself. But it is always interesting to learn just how a band reached the point it is at today, and hearing some new (to you) material is always a bonus. This is the case with Cobra Skulls' Draw Muhammad EP. Though not quite as refined and enjoyable as Sitting Army or the recent Never Be a Machine EP, this is still a very solid collection of songs that fans of the Cobra Skulls ought to have in their collection.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Cobra Skulls, the band is often described as sounding like early Against Me! meeting the Dead Kennedys, but with splashes of rockabilly. That description is inadequate, but probably as close as one can come up with. The EP opens with "Ode to Jefferson," a furious hardcore-inspired piece in which the band takes on those who try to interfere with the Constitution. Obviously, the Cobra Skulls are not pleading the Fifth here, and show that they were always vocal about public issues. Many of the issues still remain in the news, notably "The Decider," which focuses on the state of privacy and civil liberties in our increasingly technological world, particularly under the Patriot Act. "Shame on the Cobra" is a bit of a departure for the band, as it channels mid-`90s skatepunk. One might argue that they are, ahem, coming too close to No Use for a Name on this track, but it remains one of the catchiest on the disc.

Fans of the band's later output should certainly see to it that they get their hands on Draw Muhammad. Aside from having one of the best (though most offensive) visual puns on an album cover in recent memory, there is also enough quality Cobra Skulls music on the EP to tide over fans who are eagerly awaiting the band's upcoming American Rubicon.